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David Venclík

Schmidtův Karlštejn. Neogotická rekonstrukce středověkého hradu na pozadí doby

The restoration of mediaeval Karlštejn Castle, done by Friedrich Schmidt and Josef Mocker, two prominent nineteenth-century architects and conservators, cannot be adequately described without taking into account the work’s relation to the contemporary national movements. Discussion of the need to renovate the dilapidated castle, which at the time was viewed as an architectural witness to the era of Emperor Charles IV, took place not just among members of the Central Committee for the Preservation of National Heritage Sites, but also at sessions of the Bohemian Diet and of the Imperial Council in Vienna. Experienced architect and conservator Friedrich Schmidt was then assigned with developing the construction project and he managed to assert a former student of his, Czech-born Josef Mocker, for the position of ‘artistic director of construction’, thus adding a new link to the network of colleagues that Schmidt worked hard to form who were engaged in the renovation of mediaeval buildings in the Habsburg Empire that Schmidt worked hard to form. Correspondence between the two architects clearly reveals that it was Friedrich Schmidt who was most influential in determining the final form of the renovation. Mocker’s ideas, which on some points differed from the opinions of his teacher, could only be fully implemented after Schmidt’s death. Mocker obtained full responsibility and decision-making authority at a time when restoration work on most of the castle buildings had already been completed. It was only then that he was able to assert the use of timber framing in the renovation of the Burgrave’s House (1895–1897), something that had he had considering using already in the reconstruction of the top storey of the Imperial Palace. The influence of Friedrich Schmidt and his architectural artistry on the restoration of Karlštejn (begun in the spring of 1887) was later overshadowed in Czech history by the renown of Josef Mocker, to whom the renovation of the castle is at times inaccurately attributed. The insufficient recognition assigned to the role of the Viennese architect in the castle’s restoration points to a tendency in Czech history to hail the work of Czech over foreign luminaries.

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